How to Make Sure Your Pardot Prospect Database Is Working as Hard as You Are

Ah, springtime! The bees are buzzing, the birds are chirping and it’s time to dust the cobwebs out of your Pardot prospect database. Over time, your lists can get cluttered with junk emails, inactive contacts, and even competitors poking their noses where they don’t belong. This can lead to higher costs and less effective marketing campaigns. So now is as good a time as any to get those useless contacts out of there so you can focus on the ones that have the best chance of converting. 

Why Bother Keeping Your Database Clean?

It’s a fair question: Why go through all the trouble to keep your database clean? There are a number of reasons. 

Save money. The biggest reason for keeping your Pardot database tidy is that the bigger it gets, the more you pay. The default Pardot database allows for 10,000 mailable prospects, and you can purchase additional prospects in blocks of 10,000. You want to make sure the prospects you’re paying for are delivering.

Preserve your sender reputation. Having your emails marked as spam by recipients who don’t remember signing up for them can lower the sender reputation score assigned to you by ISPs. That can reduce the likelihood that your emails will reach the inboxes of recipients on their network. This is where an email preference center comes in handy.

Improve campaign effectiveness. If you have tons of recipients who no longer respond to your campaigns, they’re dragging down your effectiveness. Maybe they changed roles. Or you may have shifted your marketing strategy so that you’re no longer addressing their needs. 

6 Steps to Cleaning up your Database

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the number of unproductive contacts on your list, including: 

1. Remove spam email addresses. When people fill out forms with fake emails just to download gated content, they will make their way into your marketing automations and Salesforce CRM. To get rid of them, you need to create a list that includes the permutations you discover. Look for prospects with ‘test’, ‘abcd’ or ‘1234’ included in their email address. Salesforce Ben has a great post on automating this process.

2. Delete operational or role-based email addresses such as info@, support@, or billing@. 

3. Root out competitors. Admit it: You’ve subscribed to your competitors’ emails to see what they’re up to. Fair game! Also fair? Hunting down competitor domains in your own list and adding them to a “do not email” segment.

4. Use a third-party verification service. This can be helpful if you haven’t sent emails in a while, as it avoids risking your sender reputation. I’ve used NeverBounce, which is cheap and easy. Just upload a CSV of your list and it does all the work. 

5. Run a re-engagement nurture campaign on dormant contacts. If you have contacts that have not engaged for a significant period of time, consider reaching out to them to see if they’re still interested in staying in contact. What period of inactivity qualifies as “dormant” is up to you, but a good rule of thumb is 90 days.

This could also be a great opportunity to learn more about them by providing a few options for them to re-engage with you. If they don’t engage in the nurture campaign, you can proceed in two ways. You can either mark them as “Do Not Email” at the end of the drip, or create a list of the recipients who didn’t engage, select all, and send them to the recycle bin. I prefer the latter because even though these contacts no longer count toward my mailable prospect limit, it retains their info. That allows prospects who decide they are interested again to fill in a form and start receiving my emails once again. Once they re-engage all of their info is restored!

6. Lather, rinse, and repeat. Cleaning up your Pardot list is not a once-and-done. You should review your list on a regular basis and use the techniques above to weed out contacts that aren’t delivering. I like to do this every quarter or so. 

Pardot is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, but it can perform even more effectively and efficiently with a bit of care and feeding. Keeping your prospect database free of extraneous contacts will save you money and make your campaigns work better. Please let me know if you found this information helpful, and if you have any questions or Pardot tips of your own, I’d love to hear from you.

If you are curious about how UDG can help with your marketing technology needs, reach out!